The Democratic Value of the Filibuster

The Democratic Value of the Filibuster The filibuster was not invented to serve some lasting and critical role in democratic governance, but unintentionally, it does perform that function.  The filibuster is a structure – one rule of the game in American politics - that plays a powerful role in supporting more stable democracy. And it is … Continue reading The Democratic Value of the Filibuster

The Fragile Beauty of Democracy: The Iowa Caucuses

I watched the Iowa caucuses on Monday, February 3, 2020, from the UK. Good coverage came from a remote caucus in Florida – one of Iowa’s 87 satellite caucuses – in addition to 1,678 precinct caucuses. In that particular satellite caucus, Iowa voters, sunbirds residing during the winter months in Florida, seemed to be in … Continue reading The Fragile Beauty of Democracy: The Iowa Caucuses

Has Brexit Broken Parliament? No. This is Democracy!

The frustration of so many people over the machinations of the UK Parliament during the debates and votes over Brexit is understandable. So it is not surprising to see article after article, and opinion pieces piled on one another about how parliament, if not democracy itself, is broken. The GuardianJournal on 16 March notes: ‘Brexit … Continue reading Has Brexit Broken Parliament? No. This is Democracy!

Polarization is Not the Problem: A Post-Civic Culture

Increasingly, the dilemmas facing politics in the United States if not worldwide are being portrayed as outcomes of polarization. It is an attractive topic for discussion, because there is undeniably a great deal of polarization, if defined as wildly different (polar opposite) viewpoints on one or more issues. Moreover, it seems to be tied to … Continue reading Polarization is Not the Problem: A Post-Civic Culture

Fake news, echo chambers and filter bubbles: Underresearched and overhyped: as appeared in The Conversation

Fake news, echo chambers and filter bubbles: Underresearched and overhyped Don’t panic: An international survey finds concerns about fake news are overblown. studiostoks/shutterstock.com William H. Dutton, Michigan State University In the early years of the internet, it was revolutionary to have a world of information just a click away from anyone, anywhere, anytime. Many hoped … Continue reading Fake news, echo chambers and filter bubbles: Underresearched and overhyped: as appeared in The Conversation

A Plea to Moderators of the US Presidential Debates

A Plea to Moderators of the US Presidential Debates and their Media Organizations Lessons can be learned from this year’s primary debates and applied to enhance the value of the forthcoming US Presidential Debates, beginning on September 26th, 2016. The major lessons include the following: Moderators should aim to generate a debate between the candidates, … Continue reading A Plea to Moderators of the US Presidential Debates

Voting for Senator Bernie Sanders

There is nothing inevitable about Bernie Sanders winning the Democratic Party nomination and the 2016 Presidential election. He is not an heir to a political dynasty. He was supported by no more than 2 percent of the American voting public as recently as ten months ago. As I write, he remains behind Secretary Clinton in … Continue reading Voting for Senator Bernie Sanders

Stop the Televised Debates and Shift to the Internet

The Republican debates are about to occur on television in ways that will provide an unfair advantage to the chosen ten, and undermine the campaign of at least six other candidates. Exposure of lesser known candidates on televised debates can make a significant difference.* Since there are viable alternatives to television determining the fate of … Continue reading Stop the Televised Debates and Shift to the Internet

Essays in Honour of Jay G. Blumler

I have just received my copy of a new and wonderful book, entitled Can the Media Serve Democracy? Essays in Honour of Jay G. Blumler (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), edited by Jay’s colleagues at Leeds, Stephen Coleman, Giles Moss and Katy Parry. What a fitting tribute to Jay. The volume focuses on the question that has … Continue reading Essays in Honour of Jay G. Blumler